Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Thank goodness I bought in shortstacked....

Got an hour or so to kill before I have to go to work, so figured I'd nurse my bankroll a bit. Play some oober-tight, double-on-the-monster-hands poker.

Full Tilt Poker. Two tables. $10 on each.

Same time. TT on one, on the button with 7 limpers. I raise it 8xbb. Pretty big raise - much larger than my usual, but I want to clear this field and go to war with my ten's. I'm feeling them. Sometimes I'll just treat them like a baby pair and limp, flop a set or drop them. But I was feeling them. Three people come to the flop. All undercards, no flush draw, and only a ridiculously odd straight draw which I doubt anyone would call a raise for (even these fish). I bet out the pot. Two callers. Turn, another blank. I put the one guy all in. One drops out, other guy calls. He turned a two for 3 of a kind to beat my tens.

Isn't there some guideline about calling bets preflop with small pocket pairs? If the raise is less than 5% of your stack, call it. If it's 5-10%, maybe. More than 10%, drop it. I think SirF gave me that nugget, and it has worked well for me. A raise of $2 was 20% of this guy's stack. 20% on a pair of twos, and a pot-sized bet call after that. Maybe he figured that raggedy flop didn't help me, but - hello, I raised preflop - any chance I'm holding a higher pocket pair?

I need to remember that most of these morons know nothing about poker. I give them too much credit most of the time.

On my other table - same time as the ten's hand, I get pocket Kings. The guy to my right is a known opponent - very loose/aggressive, and very big on bluffing, in the sense that he'll attack any flop with a scare card regardless of what he's holding. Most of the time he shows these bluffs, and I have notes on every one of them. I took stats one day on how often he raises preflop, and it was near 70% of all hands - so not only is he loose, but he's raising all his junk. Well, I'm going to kick his ass on this one.

He raises 6xBB preflop. I re-raise to 12xBB ($6). He calls, as does one other person. I push all in on the flop, which contains two queens. I just finished reading some stuff in Harrington's book about how flops with two of the same face card against one opponent are less scary than flops with unmatched face cards. I patted myself on the back, as I had been thinking that myself, but never read anything to confirm it. Ya know - there are 6 outstanding cards to match a KQ, for example, whereas there are only 2 other queens in the deck. So I'm not afraid of that flop. What's the chances either of these two jokers having one of the two available queens? What I'm really afraid of is the third guy in the pot, fearing I've put myself up against Aces. But - also in Harrington's chapter that I read last night, you can't live in fear of being up against pocket Aces when you have kings. One in 24 times when you hold kings, someone else will hold aces, but those are pretty crappy odds to fear, so play your kings like they're good.

I got myself all in on that flop, and both aggro and third guy call. Aggro actually re-raised the third guy all in, and he called. WTF?

Figures. Aggro had AQ offsuit. Third guy unfortunately had pocket ten's and lost all his chips. He must have been thinking the same thing as me.

Being a 58% favorite preflop against this field, I thought my re-raise preflop was the right move. Sometimes I'll just smooth-call a big raise like that, trying to encourage action, but I wanted aggro's money, and I knew there was no chance in hell he'd fold. I'd been hoping the other guy would fold. Of course, I didn't know what my opponents had at the time, but I put aggro on Ax at best (I've seen him raise 6xbb with 2-4 suited under the gun, for shit's sake), and after the flop, figured third guy for a big pair (hopefully not aces). So I knew my hand wasn't a lock to win if 5 cards came down the board. I tried to push them out and take it right there. Maybe I should have tossed in my extra $4 and went all in.

Or, maybe if I weren't playing shortstacked, I could have pushed all in twice as much money, and that would have pushed people out.

Or, maybe they're all donkeys who've never read an ounce of poker theory in their lives, and weren't going anywhere no matter how much I bet.

I don't fault the ten's guy, actually - I might have done the same thing, considering aggro was pushing with any two cards, and I was a shortstacked opponent. And hell - is putting 12x the big blind into a pot preflop a bad move with AQo? I say yes, as that hand is so easily dominated to any hand that a player would re-raise with preflop. But, that's conservative "me" talking, and to aggro, AQo must look like the nuts compared to 2-4s and K4o.

AAAAHHHHHHRRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!! That's the frustrating part of these low limits. It's not that you don't find donkeys at higher limits; from what my more advanced poker brethren say, there are donkeys at all levels. But, I think the concentration of donkeys per table is much less potent at the higher levels, whereas at these low levels you can't go two hands without bumping into a jackass.

I swear - despite all of the talk that over time, you will walk away with the donkey's money, I can't help thinking that I enjoy playing poker against GOOD players much more than against donkeys. I'd much rather lose to someone who outplayed me than someone who was donking around in a pot they shouldn't have been in and got lucky. When you put time and effort into learning the theory and math behind this game, it's frustrating to play against those who are ignorant to that art. Sure, math is scientific, but the human component of manipulating both the math and the players is an art. There's nothing artistic about beating a table hand after hand with brute force and getting lucky. Luck in itself can look like art, and I suppose you could call a lucky win artistic if you've set up the play with the hopes of getting lucky - a bet with a nut flush draw and a tricky play on the end to extract chips when you hit it... that is art, when you pull it off without it backfiring.

So how do you find a table with an appropriate poker IQ for your tastes? The closest thing I can come to is looking at the percentage of players that go to a flop. Less than 25% is usually too tight (too smart?) for me to make any money. 30-35% is my sweet spot. Decently tight players with a couple fishes. The table I lost with my Kings with was 40%. A little high for my taste, but I've had some great wins at fishy 45%-ish tables.

See - I was just going to write, "I guess it's just bad luck today" but that's the thing; it wasn't!!! I don't think I misplayed my hands, particularly the kings. I considered what my opponents had, and made my plays accordingly, and was right. (Then came the bad luck). I probably should have dumped my ten's in the first hand fearing a larger pocket pair, but I've learned to grit my teeth and fight that urge when up against known fish. It's just too damn often that they show down busted draws, third pair, etc. I thought my ten's were good. They were, until the turn, and by then I was committed to that pot anyway.

Arg. Frustrating. You have NO idea how I am looking forward to the Aladdin tournament, if only to play some REAL poker - as "real" as it gets for my levels, anyway.

Down to $35 in Full Tilt. Donkeys ate my bankroll.

1 Comment:

  1. Felicia :) said...
    Remind me of these questions you have in Vegas. Um, BEFORE we start drinking!

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